Hammonton Councilman Michael Torrissi, Jr. will announce this evening that he is exploring a 2021 run for the New Jersey Legislature in the 8th district.
Assemblyman Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport) is expected to announce next month that he will run for the State Senate against Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham), who switched to the Democratic Party earlier this year.
That opens up an Assembly seat to run with Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton), who ousted incumbent Joe Howarth (R-Evesham) in the GOP primary.
“Dawn Addiego was elected as a Republican who was supposed to represent our interests and values.” Torrissi said “After her defection to the Democratic Party, I stepped up to support Ryan Peters and Jean Stanfield. I look forward to working with both of them, as well as Chairman Sean Earlen to maintain Republican control of both Assembly seats and win back the Senate seat in 2021.”
Torrissi’s exploration of a legislative bid keeps the door open to a Senate run if Peters changes his mind.
Addiego has not yet announced if she will seek re-election to the Senate as a Democrat in the next election.
Hammonton, the lone Atlantic County municipality in the 8th district, played a pivotal role in the victories of Peters and Stanfield last month.
The two Republicans won Hammonton by about 1,100 votes – more than twice Peters’ 535-vote plurality over Democrat Gina LaPlaca.
“If you look at the numbers, loyal Republican votes in Hammonton carried the day for Peters and Stanfield,” Torrissi explained. “I’m confident that no matter who the Republican is against Addiego you’ll see the same result.”
There is no certainty that Hammonton will remain in the 8th after the next round of redistricting before the 2021 election.
It is unlikely that Democrats would want Hammonton in the Atlantic County-based 2nd district, which elects Republican State Sen. Chris Brown (R-Ventnor) and Democratic Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield) and John Armato (D-Buena Vista).
Torrissi is a former Hammonton GOP municipal chairman and Republican Club president. He’s also the owner of a large trucking company with an ability to self-fund his own 2021 campaign,
“With my track record in business, and my service to the residents of the Town of Hammonton I am confident that the voters of the 8th legislative district will be supportive of a real Republican, especially someone who supports our President,” he said.
Torrissi said that he will announce a campaign team over the next few months and will star rolling out endorsements and begin fundraising.
“The Democrats in South Jersey are well funded through their PACs and other fundraising entities. I believe we will raise the money necessary to not only be competitive but win this race.” Torrissi said.
The General Majority PAC, which has ties to Senate President Steve Sweeney and Democratic powerbroker George Norcross, spent heavily in the 8th district this year in a bid to flip two Assembly seats.
Torrissi said that his ties to the state’s agricultural industry will also help boost his chances to win a seat in the legislature.
“My grandfather was a peach farmer, and since I was about ten years old , I was also a peach farmer working in the fields, and in the packing house,” Torrissi said. “I know firsthand how over-regulation and lack of understanding by law makers like Dawn Addiego contributes to the bottom line. Our farmers are taxed and regulated enough, it’s time we give them a break.”
The Hammonton Republican said that he opposes the gas tax and slammed Addiego and Howarth for supporting it.
“While this tax might have helped fund transportation projects, it hurt more people than it helped,” said Torrissi, whose company. Torrissi Trucking in an interstate bulk fuel carrier with hundreds of employees. “Big business, local mom/pop stores, and families are all feeling the pain of that tax, and our legislators did nothing to stop it.”